Reviewed: January 2022
Released: 2021, Nuclear Blast
Reviewer: Kieron Hayes
Renegade, originally released in 2000, was the third album of Swedish power metal cheese dealers HammerFall. After 21 years it’s getting a remixed release, and so of course the question is: how much of a difference does this new release make?
The honest answer is…not a lot, though that isn’t all bad. Renegade is much the album it originally was, glorious, over-the-top power metal cheese through and through. While a bit more grounded in traditional heavy metal grit than their more symphonic brethren, they still have absolutely no problem living up to titles like “Templars of Steel”, “The Way of the Warrior” and “Destined For Glory”. HammerFall have always been a band that do exactly what they say on the tin, taking the classic Manowar epic style and adding more melodic European pomp to it all, like an oiled up, muscle-bound warrior donning his suit of ornate armour.
That hasn’t changed much over the years, and so understandably, nor has the sound of Renegade in this new version. The production quality has had a bit of an update, naturally, everything sounding that bit more clear, but these aren’t radical re-workings of the classic tracks. If you liked Renegade, or really any archetypal European power metal, you’ll have a good time here.
This does leave this album specifically in a bit of an odd spot however. It’s not as though the original Renegade sounds especially dated in terms of its mix (even if it’s deliberately old-school in style), it’s not a old classic hampered by faulty production and in need of a fix. It was a perfectly good power metal album then and still is now. If you already have the original version, this one doesn’t honestly offer enough of a difference to make it worthwhile. If you outright aren’t a fan of HammerFall or power metal in general, this certainly won’t make a convert of you. If you’re looking to try the band out and haven’t already got Renegade, the 2.0 version certainly doesn’t spoil the classic album by any means, it’s a fine version to pick up. But it’s certainly not an essential for existing fans.